On the Issues: “Pay It Forward”


An “On the Issues” Post from the Campaign for the future of Higher Education [http://futureofhighered.org]


The Oregon legislature recently passed a law requiring the state to study a “Pay It Forward” model for higher education.  Under the plan, students could attend college with no upfront costs but with a payback over 24 years amounting to 3% of their annual earnings.  The state would then use that money to fund costs for students in the future.

With tuition through the roof, it is understandable why students might support a program that promises no upfront costs.

Given the current pressures on state budgets, it is also understandable why the “Pay It Forward” model might be attractive to legislators.  It’s not often they can “do something” significant about higher education without offering more public funding.

But as many analysts have pointed out, it is important to think through the implications…

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